Luis de la Vega dreamed of singing when he was a child, but his parents encouraged him to find stable work. He studied electrical engineering and his welding job provided a comfortable life for his family. But when he could not longer sustain them, he emigrated illegally to America. The Guatemala immigrant is pursuing opera at the Community Music Center in the Mission District.

Clarification: In the video de la Vega mentions that his application to become an understudy was rejected at an American institution because of his immigration status. This institution was not the Community Music Center, which welcomes all students to study music.

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Rosa Ramirez grew up listening to stories about her father and uncles migrating from a small rural town in Mexico to work in the garment district in Los Angeles. Now, as a reporter for Mission Loc@l, Rosa enjoys telling the stories of immigrants from Latin America and other parts of the world who are making San Francisco their new home.
Her beat is San Francisco City College and higher education.
Before coming to UC Berkeley, Rosa worked for various news organizations across the country including Hispanic Link News Service, Birmingham Post-Herald, Rocky Mountain News and Daytona Beach News-Journal.
Rosa, who speaks Spanish and Portuguese, graduated from the George Washington University in Washington, D.C.

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  1. Rosa, this is a beautiful piece. Thank you. Just to clarify, Community Music Center welcomes all people to study music (as opposed to the organization that rejected Luis’ request to be an understudy). Luis is a wonderful addition to our community.

  2. What a litany of nastiness–you folks have no soul. May you become constipated by your pinched pennies.

  3. You focus on process, but the real issue as former Education official Dianne Ravitch points out, is content: all of these byzantine)”tough” rules lead to one place: teaching to the test, and a progressive dumbing down. Ooops, one more thing: Race to the Top (the new name for No Child Left Behind) also encourages institutional fraud on the local and state levels,and we’ve plenty of that too.